What last season's College Football Playoff field would have looked like under proposed 12-team bracket
Thursday's announcement that a subcommittee investigating college football playoffs recommended expanding the current four-team system to a 12-team model raises the possibility of a fundamental realignment of the sport that Champion is uncharacteristic of previous changes to the system for determining a national player, which were usually incremental adjustments.
The new approach would address accessibility issues for schools in the Power Five League and the Group of Five that have been banned from selection in recent years and open the door to more berths. But it would also add at least one game, and possibly two, to the postseason for those playing in the first round.
The new plan would also have an impact on the regular season, affecting the value of Conference Championship Games and other matchups during the season that would affect seeding rather than a spot on the field. The drama and debate about who the number 4 is is very different from the arguments for and against the number 12.
Brian Branch, 14, from Alabama canceled a pass for Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio, in last season's national championship game.
To get a better sense of the positives and negatives, let's break down what the playoff field would have looked like last season according to the 12-team plan announced on Thursday.
As a reminder, this is how last year's field developed with the committee rankings for each team:
No. 1 Alabama (SEC Champion) vs. No. 4 Notre Dame (ACC at-large) - Rose Bowl
No. 2 Clemson (ACC Champion) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (Big Ten Champion) - Sugar Bowl
In the first part of the new proposal, the six best Conference Champions in the committee ranking will be included in the field, with the first four receiving byes for the first round:
# 1 Alabama (SEC Champions)
No. 2 Clemson (ACC Master)
No. 3 Ohio State (Big Ten Champions)
# 6 Oklahoma (Big 12 Champions)
No. 8 Cincinnati (American Athletics Champion)
# 12 Coastal Carolina (Sun Belt Master)
Six large-scale selections would have gone to the next six teams in committee order:
No. 4 Notre Dame (ACC at-large)
No. 5 Texas A&M (SEC at-large)
No. 7 Florida (SEC at-large)
No. 9 Georgia (SEC at-large)
No. 10 Iowa State (Big 12 at-large)
No. 11 Indiana (Big Ten at-large)
The first round games would have been played on campus sites, with the No. 5 seed housing the No. 12 seed, No. 6 housing the 11th seed, and so on. This would have resulted in the following first round:
No. 12 Coastal Carolina at No. 4 Notre Dame
No. 11 Indiana at No. 5 Texas A&M
No. 10 Iowa State at No. 7 Florida
No. 9 Georgia at No. 8 Cincinnati
The winners of the first round would have advanced to the quarter-finals on a bowling court. For the purposes of this explanation we assume the higher seed wins:
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 8 Cincinnati
No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 7 Florida
No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 5 Texas A&M
No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 4 Notre Dame
The Alabama-Cincinnati game winner would have faced the Oklahoma-Notre Dame game winner. The winner of the Clemson Florida game would have faced the winner of the A&M matchup Ohio State-Texas.
If the higher-ranking teams had prevailed in the fictional quarter-finals, the matchups for the semifinals would have been the same as those selected by the committee.
So what does this new model do? Yes, there are significantly more places available, especially for half of the field that had not previously made it into the playoffs. Two Group of Five schools would have been in the field after previously closing. However, the Pac-12 would still have been without a team while the SEC would have had four. The ACC, Big Ten, and Big 12 would have had two each.
The matchups of the first round, however, are not exactly what one would call convincing for a national audience. If the goal is to improve TV ratings and make things more interesting, is there an audience for Iowa State-Florida or Indiana-Texas A&M? Probably not.
But that seems to be the direction of the sport. As with previous versions, it takes some getting used to. And the cream will steadily rise to the top in the biggest games.
Even a system change will not change the fact that Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State will be there in the end.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College Football Playoff: Looking at a 12-team model for last season
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